Member Press Releases

NAJ write to housing secretary opposing plans to extend permitted development rights

11 Feb 2021

british high street

The National Association of Jewellers has, alongside 26 other business organisations, written to The Rt. Hon. Robert Jenrick MP – Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing,  against plans that could see town centre businesses premises converted into housing without approval by the local planning authority.

The Letter  has been signed by Gary Wroe, Chair of NAJ, alongside representatives from other organisations in the Independent Retailers Confederation as well as senior figures from Business improvement districts, the Royal Institute of British Architects and the British Property Federation, who represent landlords.

View Letter

Speaking about the letter, Gary Wroe, NAJ Chair said,

“These plans are likely to put added pressure onto businesses up and down the British high street, where many NAJ members are based.

“Alongside others who also signed the letter, we greatly oppose the proposals and will continue to lobby in unison.”

An extract from the letter that has been reported on by the Times and other news desks states:

We welcome Government recognition that our town centres must change, but an all-embracing permitted development right that allows most commercial buildings to be converted to housing risks putting the long-term health of our town centres at risk for the sake of a short-term stimulus.

Putting ground floor housing in a random and uncontrolled manner within high streets does not draw footfall, does not support new businesses, reduces the potential for business growth and will undermine the viability of existing retail, cultural and commercial activities on the high street and remove convenience stores from local neighbourhoods. This will create a vicious circle whereby the reduced viability of the remaining commercial uses in turn threatens their existence and incentivises their conversion to residential.

View Letter

Signing the letter, alongside the NAJ Chair is:

Jonathan Harrison, Executive Director, ActSmart

James Lowman, Chief Executive, Association of Convenience Stores

Christopher Hall, Executive Director, Association of Cycle Traders

Ojay McDonald, Chief Executive, Association of Town and City Management

Bill Addy, Chair, The BID Foundation

Meryl Halls, Managing Director, Booksellers Association of the United Kingdom & Ireland

Christopher Turner, Chief Executive, British BIDs

Andrew Goodacre, Chief Executive, British Independent Retailers Association

Melanie Leech CBE, Chief Executive, British Property Federation

Jim Winship, Director, The British Sandwich & Food to Go Association

Karen Dear, Director of Operations, Craft Bakers Association

Crispin Truman, Chief Executive, CPRE the countryside charity

Kim Bayley, Chief Executive, Entertainment Retailers Association

John Farrand, Managing Director, Guild of Fine Food

Mark Walmsley, Chair, Independent Retailers Confederation

Simon Quin, Co-Chair, Institute of Place Management

Peter Eversden MBE, Chairman, London Forum of Amenity and Civic Societies

David Preston, Chief Executive, National Association of British Markets

Corinne Stuart, Chief Executive, National Craft Butchers

Gary Wroe, Chair, National Association of Jewellers

Stuart Reddish, National President, National Federation of Independent Retailers

Joe Harrison, Chief Executive, NMTF

Mike Kiely, Chair, Planning Officers Society

Prof. Alan M Jones, President, Royal Institute of British Architects

Matthew Howell, Managing Director, UK & Ireland, RICS

Fiona Howie, Chief Executive, Town and Country Planning Association

Phil Clapp, Chief Executive, UK Cinemas


Source: The NAJ